Kenny Spoke Before He Thought

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 09:22 AM.

“Does it look alright?”

“It’s pretty clear.”

“I don’t see anything swimming in it.”

We did our own “water testing” back home. The clarity of the water, the vessel containing it and its drinkability often depended on how thirsty we were. If we had been chasing pirates, ghosts and each other up and down the big ditch all day, we weren’t so choosy. We didn’t wade out into the pond like the cows. We weren’t stupid! We’d lay on our bellies where the small stream in the ditch poured over a natural levy into the pond.

It looked almost clean there. And it was just deep enough to stick your mouth in without hitting the bottom. There was certainly an art to drinking the moving water without it running up your nose. We’d usually cradle a hand in the stream to divert it up and over the fingers; shoot, we near ’bout had a fountain! It helped that at close quarters you couldn’t drink and see any foreign substances at the same time. But remember now, if we were really thirty, we did a lot more drinking than we did inspecting.

It was pretty simple if we were up town. Some thoughtful city fathers had put a water fountain right close to the middle of our little square. The water was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Ricky Hale pointed out how much better it would be if they could reverse that someway. But it still came in pretty handy. We “filled up” after the long walk to town. We hit it pretty hard if we’d been playing “hide and go seek” while our mothers shopped for groceries. And we “made do” with it if we didn’t have the ten cents for a cherry coke over at John Motheral’s Drugstore.

Water was a snap when we had a ball game roaring in the back yard. The water hose was just behind home plate or piled up right past the south end zone depending on what time of year it was. It had a distinct “rubbery” taste but we didn’t have time to run into the house. We had to get to the next inning, or kick-off. We always called it the “water hose”. It was never just a hose. That seems silly now. But I reckon we were hoping one day to have a NuGrape hose and a Pepsi hose or, maybe, a lemonade hose… that would have been a living the life of Riley! 

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